California Beach Town Bans Plastic Straws, Cutlery

MALIBU, Calif. (CN) – The Southern California coastal enclave of Malibu on Monday banned plastic cutlery, straws and stirrers at restaurants and fast food joints in an effort to keep beaches free from refuse.

City Council member Laura Rosenthal said the latest ban is a natural progression for the community, which nixed single-use plastic bags in 2008.

Over the years, the Malibu City Council adopted ordinances banning polystyrene containers and plastic sand bags from within city limits so the latest ban should not come as a surprise, said Rosenthal.

“When we do beach cleanups along our 21 miles of coastline, plastic straws are the fifth most common trash we find,” said Rosenthal. “And utensils are the sixth most common.”

Seattle and Santa Cruz, California, have similar ordinances, but unlike them Rosenthal said Malibu will not allow biodegradable alternatives because they don’t break down in marine environments.

Next, the Malibu City Council will consider a ban on plastic drink lids and the plastic plugs for hot drink lids.

Sheila Morovati, who lives near Malibu, led an educational campaign to ban plastic straws from the community in 2017. As the founder of a crayon recycling program, Morovati teaches her children about wasteful behavior and straws along the beach seemed like the most obvious offender.

“I chose Malibu for this campaign, because it’s a beacon beach community. When you think of surfing, you think of Malibu and it’s really an exemplary city. I’m really hopeful it starts something for other places,” said Morovati.

The ban goes into effect June 1.


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